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Republican candidate for President Chris Christie speaks at Saint Anselm in Manchester Staff Photo by Nancy Lane/Boston Herald (Tuesday,June 6, 2023). 

on the Boston Common on Tuesday, in Manchester, NH. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)  June 6, 2023
Republican candidate for President Chris Christie speaks at Saint Anselm in Manchester Staff Photo by Nancy Lane/Boston Herald (Tuesday,June 6, 2023). on the Boston Common on Tuesday, in Manchester, NH. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald) June 6, 2023

Chris Christie is back.

The question is whether he would be running for president had not Donald Trump, as expected, been indicted again, this time on far out and desperate federal charges over alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Still, you have to hand it to the former governor of New Jersey.

He is the only one of eight or so Republicans who ran against Donald Trump for president in the GOP primaries in 2016 who is now running again.

He did not last very long back then, and probably won’t now, throwing in the towel after coming in sixth in the New Hampshire presidential primary.

Yet, Christie, 60, a former two term governor, was in New Hampshire Tuesday where he announced his candidacy for president again.

It is a given that Trump gets into people’s heads and drives them loco. This not only includes progressives who hate him, but Republicans like Christie as well.

And he is going to drive his opponents even crazier as his popularity soars and his fundraising increases following the latest questionable criminal proceedings against him.

“I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States,” Trump said, echoing the thoughts of millions of Americans. But these are the times we live in. If you can’t beat him, indict him.

Christie, back when he was considered a rising GOP figure, was once against Donald Trump for president before he was for him. Now he is against him again.

Before endorsing Trump in 2016, Christie on the campaign trail referred to Trump as a “carnival barker.”

“I don’t think that he’s suited to be president of the United States,” he said. “I don’t think his temperament is suited for that and I don’t think his experience is.”

After he was routed in the New Hampshire 2016 primary he provided Trump with an important endorsement, becoming the first Republican governor or senator to publicly come out for Trump.

“I will lend my support between now and November in any way for Donald Trump,” Christie said.

Christie then went on to campaign for Trump with the hope perhaps of becoming attorney general or a cabinet secretary. Trump did name Christie to head his transition team after he was elected, but Christie was shortly replaced by Mike Pence.

Now Christie, a longshot in a field of longshots, is on the attack again.

Appearing at a town hall type setting at Saint Anselm College, Christie said, “The person I am talking about, who is obsessed with the mirror, who never admits a mistake, who never admits a fault, and who always finds someone else and something else to blame for whatever goes wrong, but takes credit for anything that goes right, is Donald Trump.”

Christie could have been talking about Joe Biden.

But neither Christie nor any of the other Republicans candidates are running against Joe Biden. They are running against Donald Trump.

If they think Biden’s cowardly vendetta against Trump will help them, they are wrong.  Trump will campaign on the indictment, and the twisting of the justice system to indict him will only show how fundamentally fearful, vindictive and weak Biden is.

As for several of Trump’s GOP opponents, including Christie, their first (and maybe last) opportunity to confront Trump on it will come at the GOP’s first presidential debate August 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

To qualify for the debate, a candidate must have received 40,000 contributions from individual donors; showed at least 1 % in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and 1% in two early state polls.

The rules are aimed toward eliminating fringe candidates.

Also, each participant must pledge to support whoever emerges as the Republican nominee for president.

Christie, well before he announced, said there was “no way” he would support Trump as the GOP nominee even though Trump does not want or need his support. Trump doesn’t even want or need the debate.

The extraordinary and pathetic indictment of a former president by Biden’s politized U.S. Justice Department on such weak charges may be enough to re-elect Donald Trump.

Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.